New Federal Support Programs for Employers and Workers

November 1, 2021

The Federal Government has announced replacement programs for the CRB (CERB) employee programs, and the CEWS (employer) programs which have recently been discontinued.  These measures are intended to assist employers and workers who have been affected by the pandemic.

The Canada Recovery Hiring Program will also be extended until May 7, 2022, at a subsidy rate 50%, and the new Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program, designed to support hotels, restaurants and travel agencies, will provide a 40% wage and rent subsidy to eligible applicants. Businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector need to demonstrate a minimum 40% revenue loss to be eligible for the subsidy.

The Federal Government has also introduced the Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program, which will provide wage and rent supports to employers who can demonstrate “deep and enduring losses.”  The subsidy rate would start at 10% for applicants with a 50% revenue loss, up to a maximum of 50% for those with a 75% revenue loss.

These programs will be available until May 7, 2022, although the plan is to reduce the subsidy rate for each program by half as of March 13, 2022.

In the event of another lockdown, the Federal government has created a new lockdown support program that would come into effect if complete closures are required.  Let’s hope this is not the case. This program would provide wage and rent subsidies to businesses that are forced to lockdown due to local public health measures.  As for the employees who would be affected by any such potential lockdown, the government would offer a Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit in the amount of $300 per week.

Finally, eligibility for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit has been extended until May 7, 2022.

It should be noted that none of these programs are available to employees who resign (or are terminated) from employment due to their refusal to follow an employer implemented vaccination policy.  Service Canada has also confirmed that EI benefits will be denied to any employee who leaves employment for those reasons.

We will continue to keep you updated on any new developments. Feel free to contact us at SHRP with any questions about workplace COVID-19 issues.

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